New DVD List: What Happened, Miss Simone? & More

Posted on Wednesday, October 12, 2016 by Decimal Diver

nina-simone

Here is a new DVD list highlighting various titles recently added to the library’s collection.

what-happened-miss-simoneWhat Happened, Miss Simone?
Website / Reviews / Trailer
Playing at the True/False Film Fest in 2015, this Academy Award-nominated documentary explores the life of Nina Simone. A classically trained musical genius, chart-topping chanteuse and Black Power icon, she is one of the most influential, beloved, provocative and least understood artists of our time. This film inspired a companion book published earlier this year. 

city-of-goldCity of Gold
Website / Reviews / Trailer
Playing earlier this year at Ragtag Cinema, this film follows restaurant critic Jonathan Gold as he pulls back the curtain on the perceived superficiality of Los Angeles to show viewers a genuine and vibrant world where ethnic cooking is a kaleidoscopic doorway to the mysteries of an unwieldy city and the soul of America. Continue reading “New DVD List: What Happened, Miss Simone? & More”

The Fascinating Life of Eleanor Roosevelt

Posted on Monday, October 10, 2016 by Anne

Eleanor RooseveltOctober 11 marks the birthday of the woman who spent more time in the White House as first lady than any before or since. At her birth, Eleanor Roosevelt seemed destined for a life lived mostly on the periphery of the political dynasty she was born into. A series of childhood tragedies changed her trajectory, and Eleanor went on to not only redefine the role of first lady, but also to become a political force in her own right.

Born in 1884 to socialite parents, Eleanor was orphaned by the age of 9. She attended Marie Souvestres’s all-girl’s finishing school in England. Souvestre’s teaching methods encouraged students to think independently and express themselves. The influence of this education is visible in the social justice work Eleanor pursued as an adult. Blanche Wiesen Cooke’s “Eleanor Roosevelt: Volume One, 1884-1933” documents in depth these influential early years of Eleanor’s life. Continue reading “The Fascinating Life of Eleanor Roosevelt”

Election Day Is Coming! Get Registered and Informed

Posted on Friday, October 7, 2016 by Lauren

Vote badgeIf you have even glanced at any newspaper, website, television show or your social media accounts, then you know that it’s election season. With all of the media attention on the presidential election, it can be easy to forget that on November 8, we will also be electing local representatives, from county commissioners to state senators.

Are you registered to vote? You have until October 12 to sign up! Applications must be postmarked or submitted online by that date. Check out the Secretary of State’s website for more information and to register.

Want to know more about the candidates and proposed constitutional amendments? Attend upcoming election forums at the Columbia Public Library, on Tuesday, October 11 and Wednesday, October 19. (Both events start at 6:30 p.m., but come early for coffee and cookies!) These forums are co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Columbia-Boone County. Continue reading “Election Day Is Coming! Get Registered and Informed”

World Mental Health Day

Posted on Wednesday, October 5, 2016 by Larkspur

Photo of mental health to go kits

October 10, 2016 is World Mental Health Day, a day designated to raise awareness of and organize support for mental health issues. Millions of Americans (let alone the rest of the world’s population) are affected by mental illness; it is so prevalent that either we are affected ourselves, or we know family members and/or friends who struggle with mental health issues.

Red Cross volunteer Frank KeenerThis year’s theme is psychological first aid. What is psychological first aid (PFA), you ask? PFA is an approach used by mental health care providers and emergency/disaster response workers to help people function and cope in the immediate aftermath of natural or man-made disasters (for example, devastation from hurricanes, tornadoes, fires or mass shootings). Interventions are designed to offer support and practical assistance to those who are affected and can come in the form of providing food, water, shelter and counseling, among other things. These interventions help reduce the initial distress caused by traumatic events, addressing the physical, psychological, behavioral and spiritual effects suffered. Continue reading “World Mental Health Day”

Judging a Book by Its Cover

Posted on Friday, September 30, 2016 by Lauren

Book cover for A few months ago, a shock of red caught my eye as I walked past a display of oversize books at the library. “Cover” by Peter Mendelsund collects in stunning fashion the artwork he has created for book jackets, both new works and reissued classics. If you think you don’t know his work, you actually do. Steig Larsson’s “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” Jo Nesbo’s “The Snowman” and current bestseller “The Girls” by Emma Cline all have covers created by Mendelsund. Reading about his creative process provides a window into a world readers often wonder about. Just how does the artwork for a book get selected? Does the author have a say? Who makes the final call? And also, why are so many book covers similar? Continue reading “Judging a Book by Its Cover”

All the World’s a Stage: Docs Involving Shakespeare

Posted on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 by Decimal Diver

shakespeare-behind-bars

William Shakespeare may have been gone for 400 years, but his cultural influence still looms large today. How do modern people react and interact with his work? Check out these documentaries that explore Shakespeare’s works in a modern context.

shakespeare behind barsShakespeare Behind Bars” (2005)

Convicted felons at Kentucky’s Luther Luckett Correctional Complex rehearse for the Shakespearean production, “The Tempest,” as part of the Shakespeare Behind Bars Program. The play’s underlying theme of forgiveness parallels themes in the lives of the prisoners. Continue reading “All the World’s a Stage: Docs Involving Shakespeare”

Celebrating the Freedom to Read!

Posted on Monday, September 26, 2016 by Reading Addict

banned-books-week-2016

I love FALL! One of the reasons I love fall is that the American Library Association (ALA) celebrates Banned Books Week the last week of September. This year, the celebration is from September 25 – October 1, and the theme is “Celebrating the Freedom to Read.”

These days when we talk about banned books, we aren’t usually talking about bans by the government; however, there are countries that do still actively ban books, and our government used to be one of them. “Fanny Hill” holds the distinction of being the last book banned by the US government. It was banned in 1821 and again in 1963, and the ban was lifted after the Supreme Court decision of  Memoirs v. Massachusetts in 1966. “The Satanic Verses” continues to be banned in many Islamic countries. Continue reading “Celebrating the Freedom to Read!”

The Gentleman Recommends: Gary Shteyngart

Posted on Monday, September 19, 2016 by Chris

Book cover for Super Sad True Love StoryGreat satirists thrive when stuff in the world is goofy or evil. So, given the idyllic nature of the world these days, it’s hard to imagine that there’s much good satire out there or that satirists would manage to earn enough to keep themselves fed and sheltered rather than wasting away in the gutter where they probably belong. But, even with our utopia’s total lack of need for satirists, Gary Shteyngart has managed to keep himself fed, sheltered, gutter-free and, as you’ll see if you google “Shteyngart + vodka,” frequently drunk.

Shteyngart has earned the sustenance and drunkenness. That satire is pointless in our current climate is inarguable, but we still have a few years left before hilarious literature in which nearly every sentence contains a delightful turn of phrase becomes the province only of those who attempt to produce it. He’s a funny guy and a great writer, and I hope he’s able to eat comfortably at least until he’s no longer of any value to our society. (You’ll notice I linked to a picture of him being funny rather than pick from the bountiful text examples of his hilarity. I do this because, as the GlobalTeens social network from his brilliant novel “Super Sad True Love Story” says in one of its many helpful tips, “Switch to Images today! Less words = more fun!”) Continue reading “The Gentleman Recommends: Gary Shteyngart”

Literary Links: Art

Posted on Friday, September 16, 2016 by Svetlana Grobman

When I was a girl, I liked browsing through my parents’ books about famous art museums — the Hermitage, Louvre, Prado, etc. These books illustrated the best works of Western art, but they didn’t cover anything modern. When I grew older, I began attending art exhibits. Some of them I liked, some I didn’t. Still, the art that attracted me rarely progressed beyond the first half of the 20th century. So I was intrigued when, recently, I ran across two books by British sociologist of culture Sarah Thornton.

book cover: Seven Days in the Art World by Sarah ThorntonThe first one, “Seven Days in the Art World” (W.W. Norton & Co., 2008), is a fascinating view of a world that is often shrouded in mystery. To reveal its substance, Thornton approaches this world from different points of view. She travels to places where art is taught, created, discussed, exhibited and sold – seven destinations in all. She talks to artists, dealers, collectors, art critics, museum curators and art students, and she attends auctions, exhibits and art classes. Thornton doesn’t limit herself to examining art esthetics only. She explores art world economics, too, since endorsements and promotion – through art dealers, gallery exhibits, media coverage, shows, etc. – are no less important for the artist’s success than the work itself. So, how do we know what is a genuine work of art and what’s nonsense? “Sometimes you don’t,” Thornton says, “but often you feel it in your bones.” Continue reading “Literary Links: Art”

New DVD List: The Boys of ’36 & More

Posted on Wednesday, September 14, 2016 by Decimal Diver

boysof36Here is a new DVD list highlighting various titles recently added to the library’s collection.

boys of 36The Boys of ’36
Website / Reviews / Trailer
This documentary is based on the 2014 One Read book “The Boys in the Boat” and recently played on PBS. In 1936, nine boys from the University of Washington took the rowing world and a nation by storm when their eight-oar crew team captured the gold medal at the Olympics in Berlin. The boys’ victory, and their obstacles, inspired a nation. Continue reading “New DVD List: The Boys of ’36 & More”